First Apparel standard was made when barcode was invented. Since then standards have led to huge savings for the consumer goods industry, including the apparel sector, allowing more efficient flows of goods and information. Research conducted revealed that barcode adoption alone saved £10.5 billion in 2011 in UK industry alone and Consumer Goods Forum, has found that if standards are extended more broadly within the industry’s ecosystem there is the potential for even more savings.
Certainly large national apparel retailers, and by extension, their suppliers, have been utilizing standards for many years.
Advancing into new territory
The future of standards is not solely about expanding the usage of current standards programs into broader segments of the industry. It is also about embedding standards into process areas outside of supply chain. Two areas in particular received a great deal of attention from manufacturers. First, consumers now expect to have a vast array of product information at their fingertips and are increasingly comfortable with direct-to-consumer shopping channels. Second, effectively managing product-related risks is a critical capability for all companies.
In addition, executives were keen to explore the possibilities of emerging technologies to support the provision of these information categories both internally and externally. They debated the use of RFID, the value of smart tags and the need for a revolutionary approach to data carrier design. However, the executives were undecided on which solution would emerge as the winner and instead called for the development of a roadmap for the evolution of the industry’s data carriers.
The apparel industry faces product safety-related regulatory requirements. For example, there is more government oversight on the lead content in items made overseas, and the materials and components that make up children’s products. Also, products made from endangered species, such as fur, are being monitored. While consumers are less inclined to be concerned about the impact of apparel companies on the planet, they are applying more scrutiny to the topics of fair wages and suitable working conditions. The need to have this type of information available in the event of a product failure or to promote a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility score will be a success factor in the future. This is behind a call for new, or expanded, standards for capturing and exchanging safety and sustainability data.
In addition, the EPC-RFID tag is being used to provide apparel retailers with better information in the area of loss prevention by making visible exactly what walks out the door and when it disappeared. Next, the modern tag can be used to support anti-counterfeiting practices and increase consumer confidence in the brand-name items they are buying. Finally, space-constrained retailers are utilizing mobile technologies such as GPS to confirm that a complete sample set of products is on display (e.g., shoes).
If you want Anil to help you in implementing Apparels Standards, or relook at your process mapping from A2Z, then call or send him email